Class of 2009
Amanda Johnson believes the close relationship between faculty and students is what makes UE so unique. In this supportive environment, it's easy to see how much they care about their students' education and success. "The chemistry faculty members were always available to help with homework questions, discuss career possibilities, listen to everyday stresses, or just sit and talk. Professor Miller offered a chemistry career planning class when I was a sophomore. Although I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do after college, the class showed me how many career opportunities there are for chemistry majors."
In her position as an analytical development chemist for a pharmaceutical company, Amanda knows her internships and courses prepared her well. "My quantitative and instrumental analysis course covered topics and techniques I use everyday. The labs gave me hands-on experience with instrumentation and helped improve my lab skills. The teaching approach of the chemistry faculty builds confidence encouraging students to think for themselves, work through problems, and learn from their own mistakes." Amanda's internships were located at the same company with which she is now employed "After my first internship experience, I knew I wanted to work in a lab. It exposed me to what industry is really like and gave me a competitive edge in the job market."
Class of 2006
When comparing her undergraduate experience to her current graduate school peers, Jessica Frisz can see the difference it made to attend a small, liberal arts college. "At the University of Evansville, I received individualized attention from the faculty. I also notice that I'm more comfortable with writing and giving presentations than many of my classmates. I'm certain it's because those skills were stressed in my classes at UE."
As a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jessica is investigating miRNAs from a chemist's point of view. "miRNAs and the mechanism of RNAi were discovered relatively recently — within the past two decades — as an additional form of regulation in the eukaryotic cell, and while many biologists have entered the field, there are few chemists to examine aspects of binding and structure and energetics. I am working toward an in vitro method of miRNA target discovery."
After completing graduate school, Jessica hopes to teach. "I would love to be a professor at a small school like UE. I miss the environment and would love to return. I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to spend four years at UE."
Class of 2006
As a second-year student at Indiana University School of Medicine, Samantha Kirsch feels that she was well-prepared for the challenges of medical school. "I can honestly say that I am as prepared for the challenges of medical school as anyone can hope to be, and that is a direct product of the education I received at UE."
Due to the small class sizes at UE, Samantha was able to develop one-on-one relationships with her professors. "The professors got to know me and my strengths and helped me plan a schedule that allowed me to take the courses needed for medical school. The skills I gained at UE — problem solving in the classroom and lab experiences that taught me to think outside the box and deal with challenges — are the ones I use in medical school every day."
Samantha received the Richard L. Webb Award for Excellence in the First-Year Medical Curriculum. In addition, she is the teaching assistant for the first-year medical biochemistry course and does rounds in the emergency room with a Bloomington physician. "In my next two years, I'll complete my rotations at Methodist Hospital, Riley Children's Hospital, and St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis." Following medical school, she hopes to complete residency training in oncology, interventional radiology, or emergency medicine.